Communication is key to good workplace relations, an expert has stressedBusinesses and employees alike can benefit from workplace disputes, which can help to bring problems out into the open and force the relevant parties to engage with one another, it has been suggested.

Peter Harwood from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), suggested that companies should take pre-emptive action to prevent disagreements which could lead to strike action arising.

"Where there is a situation of upheaval and change it is about managing the potential for conflict, but employers also need to ensure that they are prepared for managing conflict itself," he explained.

Acas chief conciliator Mr Harwood stressed the importance of "open communication" between different levels at individual firms and said members of staff should be kept abreast of any planned changes which could affect their daily business.

Earlier this week, the Confederation of British Industry called on the government to introduce new laws to make it more difficult for unions to organise industrial action.

Posted by Hayley Edwards